Dalish elves seek to recover, inherit and preserve the knowledge and sacred treasures of the two fallen kingdoms. They lead nomadic lives, wandering throughout Thedas. Their clans date back to the ruling clans of the Dales and the Dalish themselves are their descendants. As such, they consider themselves to have the "purest" blood from the time of Arlathan. They still revere the elven pantheon and each member of a tribe will tattoo the symbol of their chosen god on their face.
They travel around the more remote reaches of Thedas in covered wagons called aravels, special wagons with large triangular sails atop them and rudder-like devices on the back. The Dalish elves are also known for being the only race adept at forging ironbark, a unique substance stronger and lighter than steel, used to make their weapons and certain other items of clothing, such as amulets. These, along with carved halla horns, are highly valued and are often used to trade with humans for things they cannot make on their own like metals for their weapons.
Dalish elves tend to keep to their own and avoid humans whenever they can, but will occasionally encounter human travelers, or venture near human settlements to trade. At the threat of these encounters becoming violent, a Dalish clan will likely withdraw before any real force of humans gets involved, but they will often still be willing to stand their ground. In the long run, hostilities with humans will likely end badly for the elves, especially if a kingdom decides that a certain clan has become more trouble than it is worth.
The Dalish clans themselves can also be quite different from each other. Some clans will get along fairly well with humans, and might even camp outside of settlements for long periods of time. Other clans are more infamous, living by banditry and hiding like guerrillas in the mountain passes. The Dalish of Ferelden are on a more-or-less neutral basis with its human citizens.
Dalish clans rarely encounter each other in order to protect themselves; their diaspora is as much of a blessing as is a curse. Since Dalish don't—if ever—keep in contact between other clans, should one be exterminated by a human lord—a difficult task in and of itself—them being able to find the others will be nearly impossible. Only once a decade or so do the Dalish clans all meet together, and their keepers, the elders and leaders of the Dalish who are responsible in keeping elven lore and magic alive, will meet together and exchange knowledge in a meeting called the Arlathvhen.
During such a time, the clans will recall and record any lore they have relearned since the past meeting, along with reiterating what lore they know already to keep their traditions as accurate and alive as possible. During such time, the clans will exchange relics dating from the two elven nations for safekeeping. The Dalish believe that all the relics they've preserved from the Dales and Arlathan belong to all the Dalish; such trades are seen as much of an act of sharing as is a matter of trade, and the same is true even for talented elves. Merrill for example was born in the Alerion clan, but due to her magical talents she was given to the Sabrae clan to be the First of Keeper Marethari as clan Alerion already had a number of gifted elves.
Many Dalish live by Andruil's code known as Vir Tanadhal, meaning "Way of Three Trees." It is made of three parts, which are:
- Vir Assan ("Way of the Arrow") - fly straight and do not waver
- Vir Bor'Assan ("Way of the Bow") - bend but never break
- Vir Adahlen ("Way of the Forest") - together we are stronger than the one
The three parts of the philosophy are often strung together as a sort of mantra, which the Dalish will often end with the phrase, "We are the last of the elvhenan, and never again shall we submit."
Few follow a different path, Sylaise's code known as Vir Atish'an, "The Way of Peace": Dalish learn the arts of the healer and the mender.
Dalish elves tend to live a bit longer than city elves, due to generations of greater isolation from human settlements. When Dalish elves die, their clan will bury them and plant a tree over their remains.
Known dalish clans Edit
- Alerion, where Merrill was born
- Ralaferin clan, whose Keeper is Gisharel
- Sabrae, the Dalish Warden's clan.
- Unnamed Velanna's clan
- Unnamed Yevven's clan
- Unnamed Zathrian's clan
- Unnamed Ariane's clan
- Unnamed clan that found young Loghain and Maric in Korcari Wilds
Notable dalish elves Edit
- Pol, a city elf who joined the Dalish elves
- Rajmael, a Dalish general during exalted march against the Dales
- At the end of Dragon Age: Origins, it is possible to ask the new monarch to grant the Dalish their own lands. Alternatively, if the Warden is of Dalish origin and sacrifices themself to end the Blight, the Dalish will be given these lands as well. The epilogue will then reveal that they settle these lands, though new political tensions arise.
- According to Zevran there are Dalish elves in Antiva City, but they are much more violent than those in Ferelden.
- Developer statements on the longevity and life expectancy of elves are ambiguous. Dragon Age: Origins established the Dalish as potentially living longer than city elves, or even other races. Similarly, during an interview in January 2012, David Gaider stated that Dalish elves normally live longer than city elves, though not "Tolkienesque numbers of years", and that greater lifespans are indeed possible with isolation. However, in May 2013 Mary Kirby stated that city and Dalish elves have the same life expectancy, and that blood magic was the only way elves like Zathrian had "reclaimed" immortality.
- ↑ On Dwarves, Elves and Qunari.
- ↑ Dragon Age RPG, Set 1 Master's Guide, page 43
- ↑ Codex entry: Andruil: Goddess of the Hunt
- ↑ Codex entry: Vir Atish'an
- ↑ Thedas UK (January 14, 2012). "David Gaider Interview". Retrieved January 29, 2012.>
- ↑ From a conversation option for a Dalish Warden in dialogue with Alistair.
- ↑ Codex entry: Vir Atish'an
- ↑ Based on The Veshialle description.
- ↑ According to restored party comments during conversation with hahren Sarel during quest Nature of the Beast.
- ↑ David Gaider interview
- ↑ Which race in Dragon Age lives the longest? on BioWare Social Network